We all know how important first impressions are. As a hospitality manager you’ve drilled your staff, from front desk to maintenance, on the importance of being friendly, courteous, and helpful to guests. In fact, you make hiring decisions with these characteristics in mind.
But nowadays, first impressions are often
made online. Beyond having staff who are helpful and cheerful on the phone and in-person, your property’s web presence needs to put your best foot forward. Even folks who find you on an OTA are likely to visit your website, so it makes sense to ensure it’s putting your best foot forward.
5 Hotel Website Design and Development “Must-Haves”
There’s lots of general advice on website design out there. Sites need to be fast-loading. Attractive. Easy to navigate. Search engine optimized.
Our advice is targeted specifically for hospitality marketing to address the industry’s unique concerns. In our experience, a winning hotel or resort website needs to include:
1. Prominently-displayed reservation and booking function
Make sure visitors can book rooms directly from your site. OTAs can boost bookings, but don’t let them cut into more of your income than needed. Include a booking engine on your site, and make sure visitors are attracted to it.
There are a number of software options available. When you need to select one, consider these factors:his list could be expanded in a future post in lieu of recommending a product
- Mobile- and social media-friendly since many guests will come to you this way
- Fast loading for a better user experience
- Plays seamlessly with your existing systems for managing room inventory
- Displays the languages and currency your guests are familiar with
- Accepts new flexible payment methods like Apple Pay, Google Pay, Venmo, and Paypal
The goal is a fast and frictionless booking process.
2. Specials, Offers or Enhancements
Many properties are seeing a boom in leisure travel while business travel is shrinking. Consider what might be attractive to your guests and feature these offers on your site. For example, if your property is close to a golf course, perhaps you can partner with the course and offer a discount on a first round. If you have an in-house spa, offer a special on massages.
Offers can be tailored to seasons, area attractions, or popular guest activities. Use creative brain-storming to come up with a list of possibilities. Try a few and see how they work. You can use your experience to refine the offers over time.
3. High Quality Photos and Media and Specific Pages for Showcasing Your Media
When it comes to booking a hotel or resort, most guests want to see what they’re getting. In this case, pictures communicate much more quickly and effectively than words.
Load your site with attractive photos, virtual tours and videos of your building, lobby, common areas, amenities, guest rooms and local attractions. Have a separate Media page as well as a fantastic landing page for your rooms with multiple images for every room.
4. Glowing Guest reviews and a Plan for Reputation Management
Prospective guests want to hear from others about their experiences with your property. You can set up a separate page of reviews; however, we find it’s more effective to intersperse reviews with other content throughout your site. This promotes a more organic experience for site visitors as they read reviews while looking through your site. Also, make sure your guests are reviewing you first on Google and TripAdvisor and use those reviews with attribution on your sit.
5. Chatbot or Live Chat (if you have the resources)
This is a quick, interactive way to answer Frequently Asked Questions and direct guests to the services or experiences they want. Here again you have many options to choose from when it comes to software. Look for a chatbot program that’s easy to use both for your team and for guests.